About Me

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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I am a Montreal-based actor, writer and comedian. When U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was three days old. I cried all day. My favourite books of all time are Moby Dick by Herman Melville, The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis and The Ewoks Fun Time Activity Book by Chirpa and Pamploo. I am a member of The Vestibules, On The Spot Improv and The Best Buy Battery Club. Except for the Battery Club, I've been at all this stuff for over 20 years. Enjoy my blog.

Friday, December 2, 2011

James Cagney, Martial Arts Master

Long before Bruce Lee came to Hollywood and introduced martial arts to western pop culture, the silver screen had an earlier, lesser known martial arts master.

That master was James Cagney.

The movie is Blood on the Sun from 1945. James Cagney is an American reporter in Japan in the 1930's. The story follows his attempts to smuggle the Tanaka Memorial document out of the country. The document was supposedly the Japanese version of Hitler's Mein Kampf (the book in which Hitler laid out his plans for world conquest, among other things). Only the Tanaka Memorial document was later revealed to be a fraud, largely a creation of the Western allies for propaganda purposes.

None of that mattered to martial arts master James Cagney though.

He had to get that document out of Japan and into American newspapers, no matter what. The Japanese were ready to throw anything in his path to stop including a femme fatale, a murder frame-up and even their own martial arts master, Captain Oshima.

I am far from an expert on martial arts but I really can't figure out what style this fight is supposed to be in. It seems like mash-up of Judo, Jujitsu and maybe Karate. But there's also plenty of punching and kicking on Cagney's part (I guess the idea there was that they didn't want to have our hero fighting with techniques too closely associated with the enemy). I'd have to say that Mixed Martial Arts is probably the closest equivalent to whatever this is.


SPOILER ALERT: This is the climatic fight scene of the movie.

Until next week, Sayonara!
(see what I did there?)

 PS: You can watch the whole movie by clicking here.

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